Saturday, 22 September, 2018

‘Staggering’ Hurricane Florence On Collision Course For Carolinas

Eye of the storm Tracking Hurricane Florence and possible impact on Philly This is the map issued Monday morning by the National Hurricane Center showing the probable path of Hurricane Florence. National Hurricane Center
Orlando Vargas | 11 September, 2018, 23:59

Among the many truly fearsome aspects Hurricane Florence poses to the Carolina coast and beyond is a potentially catastrophic storm surge, which some experts say could reach as much as 15 to 20 feet.

The storm was located about 950 miles (1,530 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, at 5 a.m. ET (0900 GMT), according to the NHC, which warned it would be "an extremely risky major hurricane" through Thursday night. Helene is expected to continue strengthening over the next two days as it rolls west and become a major, Cat 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 115 miles per hour.

So it may shift over the coming days, but if predictions hold, Florence is set to be the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina since Hurricane Hugo tore through the state in 1989.

The NHC issued a hurricane watch for the coastal area stretching from SC up through North Carolina and into southern Virginia.

Cooper and his counterparts in neighboring SC and Virginia ordered about 1 million people to evacuate coastal homes, including along the Outer Banks barrier islands.

Florence is barreling straight for North Carolina, with coastal residents fleeing what may be the most powerful hurricane to hit the state in 64 years.

The first hurricane watches were issued for the SC and North Carolina coasts on Tuesday at 5 a.m.

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"We're going to get a lot of rainfall in a relatively short time", he said, adding flooding could be "life-changing" for many.

Authorities in coastal towns have told residents to pick up sandbags and in North Carolina they are already preparing bulldozers and chain saws in case they are needed in any future clean-up and rescue operations. But that part of the East Coast rarely sees any major hurricanes.

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement on Monday urging Floridians to be prepared for the unexpected and remain on alert about Hurricane Florence.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Olivia triggered warnings for multiple Hawaiian islands as it blew west toward an arrival over the state as soon as late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

"NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane investigating Florence found that its winds had increased to 130 miles per hour late Monday morning", said The Weather Channel.

The Post's weather team noted that Florence will pass over oceans that are warmer than normal, which will provide fuel and "favours at least a Category 3 hurricane landfall on the Southeast coast by week's end" (emphasis theirs).

Officials warn there is a chance of "life-threatening inundation from rising water" over the next 48 hours as Florence heads for the US East Coast. Heavy rain may impact as far inland as Charlotte, North Carolina's largest city, though the severity will depend on the storm's track, according to The Charlotte Observer. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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